Two women sue govt for baby loss during delivery

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By Mary Taruvinga

TWO Harare women who lost their babies during delivery are suing the government for negligence and having caused their loss.

Melody Mapani and Aurage Katumbe filed a court case jointly with Combined Greater Harare Rate Payers Residents and Tenants Association.

They said the closure of municipal clinics in June was the cause of their losses and want the court to issue an order directing all the clinics to be opened by October 1 this year.

The closure of the health facilities followed a strike by nurses over poor remuneration and lack of protective equipment in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The City of Harare, Local Government Minister July Moyo, Health Minister and Vice President Constantino Chiwenga, Finance minister Mthuli Ncube are cited as respondents.

Mapani, Katumbe and several other women had reportedly lost their babies after failing to deliver at a health facility because the clinics were closed.

Part of the application reads, “There are also credible reports made to the first applicant of other women who lost their babies in circumstances such as the second applicant delivering at home under risky conditions as clinics are closed.

“The conduct of the respondents is a violation of the rights of applicants and residents to the right to health as provided for in section 76 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe.”

The applicants said before all clinics are opened on October 1, authorities should ensure that there were enough clinics open, offering emergency medical treatment including to pregnant women.

“If need be and upon written request from first respondent and fourth respondent shall without delays provide the necessary funds to implement the stated measures,” reads terms of the interim relief being sought.

In the final order, the residents want the closure and failure to offer medical services declared a constitutional infringement on the right to health.

The applicants are being represented by their lawyer Tonderai Bhatasara of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights.

The case is yet to be heard.